There are various
statements indicating the presence of white settlers in this region
before the Indians ceded it to Georgia, that little extract from an
excited Charles J. McDonald's letter, "The whites who have been
resident among them, etc.," for one, and, "At the time of sale of the
lots in Newnan, there were two squatter settlers in town, Wm. A. Hicks
and James Caldwell, both had houses of entertainment for travelers,"
for another; and somewhere else, one, to the effect, that much of the
resentment and grudge felt by the Indians was caused by the Tories and
their descendants—half-breeds and outlaws—all of whom hated Georgia and
Georgians, who had fled to remoter parts of the Creek country, the
outlaws through all years, the Tories after the tide of the
Revolutionary war turned in Georgia and the Carolinas in favor of the
patriots, and continued to live there to this time of 1825, but only
this one item has been found:
Aquila Hardy came in 1825
before the county was organized and rented land from an Indian, in,
what is now, the Sixth district. There must have been some 'house of
entertainment for travelers' at Bullsboro, or a trading station—some
nucleus of a settlement that caused it to be used as the county seat,
but nothing explaining its use for a year, and its abandonment for
Newnan in 1828, is found. All that is known being this, (And this, from
"Acts of the General Assembly: That the place of said election in he
County of Coweta shall be at the house of James Caldwell.") from
Anderson's "History of Coweta County, 1827." We now come to this year
in which the town was settled at a place called Bullsboro, two and
one-half miles north-east of Newnan, on the Fayetteville road.
But those squatters,
squaw-men and what not, do not belong to the noble race of pioneers
whom only Carlyle, writing of the Norsemen, and the Bible phrase,
"mighty men of valor," fittingly describe. The spirit, the strength,
the courage, the fortitude, the industry, the ingenuity, the
resourcefulness, and the other elements that combine to make pioneers,
cannot be fully told to those who know nothing of that kind of life.
Blessed are those who have known some of them who ruggedly survived to
reach the age of eighty, ninety, or one hundred years. Few weaklings
came, no records were kept of them. The death rate was high, only the
strong could survive the hard life. What is said of the men applies
with equal truth to the women; they were worthy of their men. The
necessities of that life made them all capable, efficient, intelligent,
good seers, good hearers and of great endurance. One of the breed told
of plowing and hoeing, on rented land, from dawn to dark, and then
cutting down trees, piling and burning brush, clearing up his own land
(which he had borrowed money at twenty per cent interest to buy) at
night, until ten o'clock. Many of the women helped work the fields,
besides doing their housework—cooking, cleaning and washing—and at
night spun thread, wove cloth and made all the clothing for the family.
The pioneers lived in
tents at first, many of them, and in one-roomed log-cabins, with dirt,
or split puncheon floors, one door; the cooking, eating and sleeping
all done in the one room. "Nearly all of us going barefooted in summer
from necessity—for even those who had money could not find any shoes in
the country to buy." Children were rocked in hollow-log cradles.
Built-in bedstead—sthat is, holes were bored in the logs on the two
walls of one corner, poles stuck in these holes met in others bored in
a corner post, a side rail was tacked to the wall, and poles or slats
rested on that and the opposite pole—a tick filled with wheat-straw—or
any other available—was thrown on those slats and a feather bed on top
of that; home woven sheets, blankets, coverlets and pieced quilts; a
pot to boil in; an oven, a round iron vessel with a lid, to fry and
bake in, (coals put on the heavy iron lid browned the top of the
contents, while coals banked under and around its short feet browned
the bottom); benches made of a slab, with legs stuck in the
rounding-side in auger-holes; maybe a chair or two; a table; a
chest—often called "chist"—if they were well-to-do; a flint-lock musket
—these summed up the maximum rather than the minimum possessions of
furniture. As soon as possible a loom was made, a spinning wheel
bought, and the women's biggest job of manufacturing the family
clothing began. Some families had no bed-covers and burrowed into piles
of straw, to keep warm while they slept. Dry gourds served many
purposes: to keep soap and salt in and sugar and coffee—when they had
any—and, indeed, practically all the purposes of the paper bags and tin
cans of to-day, and for dippers and ladles besides. Some of the gourds
were so little they were used only to slip into the heel or toe of a
sock to darn over, some would hold a bushel—big fat round ones.
Long-handled ones for
water-dippers were grown by hanging the parent vine on the garden fence
or across the branch of a tree, the weight of the young gourd
stretching it into a long handle with a little round bowl at the
blossom end, but they had to be scraped and scrubbed before they were
rid of their gourd scent and ready for use.
Their food was such as
the forests and streams afforded, with corn products, bread, mush,
hominy. Game was plentiful; squirrel could be shot from the cabin door,
deer and wild turkey were easily obtainable and the waters teemed with
fish. Many had bees; some must have been purchased from the retiring
Indians, as they could not take them on their long journey to Indian
Territory, but many settlers brought stands from their former homes.
These stands were sections of hollow trees—notched at the bottom end
for the bees to pass out and in, boards covered the top, held in place
by heavy stones—placed in the back or front yard, with, for neighbor,
an ash-hopper, a contrivance of a trough three or four feet long, with
boards placed in v shape in it, forming a receptacle for ashes, over
which water was poured daily, forming, as it filtered through the
ashes, a strong lye from which they made their soap. Those having any
contact with the Indians doubtless knew many wild plants that were
edible. Food, must have been the least of their worries, tools and
clothing being far harder to get, but the most trying experience was
the loneliness. W. U. Anderson tells that "Men, women and children
would walk five miles to a party and back."
At first their light must
have been limited to pineknots on the fire, and pine torches in lieu of
lanterns or the modern flash light; later they had tallow candles made
In "My Autobiography" Dr.
W. J. Cotter describes the country so beautifully that it is quoted
here: "I saw that interesting part of the state when all was new—waters
in the creeks and rivers as clear as crystal; rich valleys, hills ....
covered with thick forest. A land of beautiful flowers—white, pink,
yellow and red honeysuckle (azaleas), redbud, dog-wood blossoms, wild
roses and many others. The ground was covered with violets,
sweet-williams (flocks), and other beauties. There was plenty of wild
game—deer, turkey, and other varieties. When first seen, it was in
lovely spring and I was nine years old.
"Many and varied were the
troubles encountered with the wild animals, bears, panthers, wolves,
wild-cats, coons and foxes. I never saw a bear in the woods; but they
were numerous and many were killed. I saw a panther three hundred yards
from the house. The cattle in the lane scented it and were excited.
Panthers killed colts, springing from the limb of a tree. I have often
seen the prints of their claws on the colts* backs, and sometimes on
grown horses. Wolves howled in hearing .... but never gave any trouble.
Standing in the yard, we could hear the foxes barking; coons were
nearly as bad as hogs in destroying corn. They began on it before it
was in roasting ear.
"The Indians had no dogs
but small curs, which were of little account."
From W. U. Anderson;
"Captain John Benton came
early. He had lived in Fayette several years, deciding to move to
Coweta, he came and cut the logs to build his house, but had to go back
to Fayette to bring men to help him raise it, there were so few living
in what is now Coweta county. His settlement was on White Oak Creek.
The Fayette men liked the country so much that several of them moved
over, among others, Joel Johnson and Mrs. Hannah Roberts, who now,
1877, still lives, (though at the age of ninety-four,) and enjoys life.
Benjamin Hughes was another early settler from South Carolina. When I
learned from what part of the state he came, I asked him if he knew the
Butler family, his answer, 'Yes, I knew him well, I was the only boy
left when Bloody Bill Cunningham killed Captain Butler and his men; I
sprang under a brushheap covered with gourd vines and saw them kill him
in cold blood.* This Benjamin Hughes was a soldier of the Revolutionary
war, and father-in-law of John Benton, who was a soldier of the War of
1812, and a member of the legislature. One of the first churches in the
county was White Oak Grove, belonging to the Baptists, near it was one
called Smyrna, an early Methodist church.
"On Skinner's Creek lived
Howell Elder, the father of S. J. and Wm. H., and near him lived a man
named Emery, at whose house court was held; the Squire's name was
Hearae, I think. A little farther down lived 'Old Willis Stringer* and
a man named Lee; a few miles from them lived the Tidwells, one of whom,
Bill, was the county Bully, he was an honest and honorable man, but
thought fighting was one of the highest accomplishments of a gentleman.
" 'Old Uncle Sam Gaines'
was also an early settler—the one who when drinking soliloquized after
this wise, 'There is good whiskey and better whiskey, but no mean
whiskey. My man Sam and I love a dram.' Mrs. Haines, a worthy lady,
with her sons and daughters came early into this county; some of them
still live near the old homestead. Henry Morgan, John Benton and James
Miller were three of the men who helped measure the road from Flint
river to Newnan— I mean the Gordon road. The people were not well
educated like they are now, neither were they so religious or
fashionable, but they were kind and honest. All you had to do if you
were sick or needed help in any way was to let your neighbors know and
they would come to your assistance speedily." 1826.
Only a few items of this
year have come to light. "Britton and John Simms were
brought when boys of eight and ten years to this county and left with a
trusted negro slave to clear a tract of land while their father
returned to their former home to bring the rest of the family." "When
James Powell came in 1826, in December, the shed' rooms of his cabin
were covered with bark temporarily, making but a leaky roof over the
boys of the family who told it long afterward. The place later came to
be known as the Parks Arnold place."
This romantic story is
told of Ellen Stimpson Peniston Smith, wife of Dr. Ira Ellis Smith:
"Over a hundred years ago in historic Peters-burg, Virginia, lived a
young woman of such exceptional charms of manner and of culture that
she was widely known as "belle of Virginia.*.... Educated in Baltimore,
her accomplishments equalled her personal charm so it was no wonder
that she should have many lovers. Admiring friends gave a party in her
honor. During the evening one young man showed her such marked
attention that her escort be-came jealous and challenged his rival to
fight a duel. The next day the word came to Ellen that both men had
been killed. A sad shock to her, though she loved neither of them.
"In old Blandford
churchyard both men, Adams and Boisseau, were buried. Old Blandford is
of Colonial Virginia, and unique in several ways: The heroes of four
wars sleep there—the Revolution,-25,000 Confederates, men who fought in
1812, and before that in Canada; a British officer is buried there said
to be the only one till the World War, buried on foreign soil; and two
duels have been fought there. Petersburg has planted a memorial avenue
of trees to the Petersburg men who fell in the World War, with a bronze
marker at the foot of every alternate tree.
"Ellen Stimpson Peniston
and Dr. Ira E. Smith were married in 1821 in Virginia, removing to the
large plantation in Coweta, near Newnan, about the time the county was
organized. Here, the name 'flower of Georgia,* was given her in love
and admiration.'* Told by her sister in her ninety-second year. 1827.
Of this year and of
Bullsboro, first county seat, only a few items axe known. The holding
of the first term of Superior court for Coweta county by Judge Walter
T. Colquitt and the first election ordered by the Legislature for the
first Monday in May 1827, "that resulted in the choice of James Hicks,
John Guddice, John Underwood, Dyer and Caleb Fields as Judges of the
Inferior court; Benjamin Easley, Sheriff; John S. Beavers, Clerk
Superior court; J. Pollard, Clerk Inferior court; John Fleming, R. T.
Returns and Josephus Echols, Tax Collectors; Charles Cleghorn, County
Surveyor. Andersons History of Coweta county contains the names of the
jurymen of the court and continues:
"Members of the
Legislature were elected on the first Monday in October. James Hicks
was elected Senator; George Pentecost, Representative."
Andrew J. Berry came from
South Carolina and opened a store. Grierson (Grayson) trail had been
widened and made into a regular road from Grierson's Landing, on the
Chattahoochee close to the mouth of New river, to Bullsboro and
eastward, and settlers were coming into the new county almost in droves.
A family sketch of
Captain James W. Anderson in "Memoirs of Georgia," contains the
statement that his father, "William U. Anderson, was born in Coweta
county in 1808," which can not be correct, though he may have been born
in the Creek country, that later became Coweta county. That he was one
of the very early citizens of the county he tells in his "History of
Coweta County," that is highly prized by all who possess a copy. "Henry
Morgan and his son-in-law, Henry Urquahart, came in the year 1827 and
bought land and settled on a small creek which they named 'Sandy.' "
"Caleb Cook settled in the Sixth district, later building the first
two-story house painted white in the county. Miss Jane Atkinson, a
school teacher from Virginia, designed the carving on the mantels,
which are works of art very creditable for that day and frontier
Macedonia Baptist church
was constituted August 20, by Rev. James Reeves and Rev. Cyrus White,
with Allen Gay, Revolutionary soldier, Ann Gay, Nicholas Dyer, Moses
Kelly, Moses Shelley, Wm. Bullard, Deborah Doster, Elizabeth Dyer,
Sarah Jennings, Martha Haney, and Harriet Dyer, members.
The first jail of the
county is said to have been a hollow poplar tree, but whether it was at
Bullsboro or Newnan the item does not tell. Zach Williamson, of the
Fourth district, was said to be the first white child born in the
county, Elizabeth Houston, the first girl. 1828.
The regular, every two
years, State election came the first Monday in January for all county
officials except tax collectors and tax receivers, who were elected
every year. Bradley Bell was elected sheriff; Wm. A. Hicks, clerk
Superior court; Sihon House, clerk Inferior court; John Fleming, tax
receiver; Silas Reynolds, tax collector; surveyor re-elected; Wiley
Jones, coroner. The county treasurer was appointed by the court and
there was no such official as the ordinary; the Inferior court
transacted that business.
Inscription on the bronze
tablet of the boulder marking the site of the lost town of Bullsboro:
In Rowan County, N. C,
the will of his fathee was recorded with the date, 1805. His father was
Dr. Anthony Newnan, and his brothers named in the will, John, Hugh and
Montgomery. Two deeds made by Daniel Newnan, one to a lot in Salisbury,
N. C, to Hugh Newnan, dated April 28, 1806, of Green County, Ga.; the
other to Peter Hildebrand, February 17, 1817, from Darnel Newnan of
Putnam county, Ga., are on record in Salisbury, N. C.
From the Librarian of
Congress, comes this information:
"Daniel Newnan was born
in North Carolina about 1780. He was commissioned Ensign and
Second Lieutenant in the Fourth U. S. Infantry, March 3, 1790, was
promoted to be First Lieutenant the following November, and resigned
January 1, 1801." He commanded Georgia volunteers, as
Captain of Militia, in two actions with the East Florida Indians in
September and October, 1812; was conspicuous in an attack on the
Autossee towns of the Creek Indians, under General John Floyd, November
2, 1818, and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. The following
month he was severely wounded in an engagement with the Creeks at Camp
Defiance, in what is now Elmore County, Alabama, under the same
general. After the war he resided on his plantation near McDonough, in
Henry County, Georgia, and was made Adjutant-General of State militia,
by the Legislature in 1812. On November 13, 1813, it was resolved by
the General Assembly that the Governor be requested to transmit to
General Newnan the brevet commission of brigadier-general.
During the expedition against the Indians, a clerk was elected to his
office and he was to retain the salary as Adjutant-General, but he only
received pay as brigadier-general, while in the service. In
January, 1814, he was given a vote of thanks by the General Assembly
for the courage, patriotism and fortitude manifested in his service
against the Creeks. On November 8, 1817, he was elected by the
Legislature, and commissioned by the Governor as major-general of State
militia, third division. On December 12, 1823, he was elected Principal
Keeper of the Penitentiary. On November 24, 1825, he was elected by the
Legislature to the office of Secretary of State. He was elected
to Congress as a State's Right Democrat and served from March 5, 1831,
to March 5, 1833. He died in Walker County, (now ____atoosa,)
Georgia, January 16, 1851, near the Tennessee line, twelve Miles east
of Rossville and a mile or two from the Chicamauga be___
__eld. He died on Peavine Ridge, three miles from his
grave. ___ad gone to that section for his health. When death came
b___ alone in the house. He was buried at Newnan Springs
and ____ made around his grave was destroyed some years later by a
forest fire leaving the grave unmarked. The place is en-tirely in the
woods—no town near, but a small Methodist Church close by. About seven
acres of land is covered by the Newnan Springs. Nearby is General
Newnans old home with the Lombardy poplars standing in the yard. A town
site in Pike County (but in 1825 the county was reduced in size and the
site cut off) and Newnanville, were named for him.
Many efforts have been
made to learn if he left any family, but without avail.
In 1917 the city council
of Newnan authorized Dr. Cotter and Edward S. Buchanan to go to Walker
County and find the grave of General Newnan in order to properly mark
it or to remove the remains to a resting place in the cemetery of his
namesake town; they were successful in finding the grave, but owing to
the confusion of that war period the plan to mark or move the grave was
There is a record in some
old book that General Newnan tried to promote silk culture in Henry
The list of names of
those drawing land in the Coweta county lottery is said to have been
written by him, then Secretary of State. The penmanship is remarkably
beautiful there though his signature on the land grant pictured on the
opposite page does not prove it.
The first baby born in
Newnan was William Potts Nimmons. The members of the first Methodist
church organized in Newnan: Reverend Simeon L. Stephens, pastor; Mr.
and Mrs. Ernest Wittich, Mr. and Mrs. Higgins, Mrs. Davis and son
Nathan, Mrs. Cooper and sister. Miss. C. Echols, both sisters of Mrs.
Dougherty, members. Corn was sold and delivered for fifteen cents a
bushel. The first frame house built in Newnan by Silas Reynolds now
known as the Posey place.
Prosper Johnson, a negro,
brought his mistress and the money from the sale of thirty negroes from
one of the older counties cutting a road as they came.
Bethel Baptist church was
organized June 9, with nine members, Reverends James Reeves and John
Wood, who accepted the pastorate until December 1829, being present.
Ebenezer Baptist church was organized June 10, eight miles east of
Newnan, on the Fayetteville road, with eleven members: William M.
Stokes, William H. Stokes, Joel Nickolls, Berry Waldrop, Jane Stokes,
Anna B. Stokes, Sarah Nickolls, Patsy Davis with Stokes' Lucy and Amy,
Davis' Violet and Penn's Charity colored members. Reverend John Wood
was chosen pastor. From an old book of minutes is taken the following:
"The following is the
Constitution of the Baptist Church at New-nan, Coweta County, organized
on the 11th of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
"We the scattered members
of the Baptist Church in said county near the head of Wahoo Creek being
convinced of the propriety of being constituted into churches for the
purpose of keeping house for God and watching over each other for good
have this day set forth our faith in the following articles:
"1st. We believe in a
father, son and Holy Ghost and yet there is but one God.
"2nd. That the Scriptures
of the Old and New Testament are the word of God and the only rule of
faith and practice.
"3d. In the fall of Adam
and the corruption of human nature and the impotency of man to recover
himself by his own free will ability.
"4th. In the everlasting
love of God to his people and the doctrine of election, effectual
calling and final perseverance of the saints in Grace and that this was
a covenant of Grace between the Father and Son ere time began in which
their salvation is secured.
"5th. That sinners are
justified in the sight of God only by the righteousness of Christ
imputed to them.
"6th. Good works are the
fruits of faith and follow after justifies tion and that only justify
us in the sight of men.
"7th. That there will be
a resurrection of the dead and a genera Judgment and that the happiness
of the righteous and the punishmen of the wicked will be eternal." it
Coweta county's first
seat of government, was located here the first Superior Court was
organized by Judge Walter T. Colquitt and presided over at this place
In 1828 the county seat
was changed to Newnan. Marked by the Sarah Dickinson Chapter Daughters
of the American Revolution 1925
The town of Newnan was
located in February 1828, and the lots sold on March 25th, prices
ranging from $40.00 to $611.50, according to size and location. It was
given the name of Newnan in honor of General Daniel Newnan.
General Daniel Newnan
The following facts about
General Daniel Newnan were collected by Rev. W. J. Cotter:
"1st. That Jesus Christ
is the great head of the church and onlj Law giver and that the
government is with the body and is the privilege of each individual
member and that the Discipline of the Gospel is intended for those
members who are Disorderly either in faith ot practice and must be
faithfully kept up for the glory of God and the peace of the Church.
"2nd. That water Baptism
and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of the gospel to be continued till
the Lord's Second Coming and to be administered only by orderly Baptist
ministers regularly ordained. And believers in Christ are the only
subjects of Baptism and that immersion is the only mode and that
regularly Baptized persons only have a right to the Lord's Supper.
"We, the undersigned
subscribe our names to the above articles of faith as being ours and do
covenant with each other to keep house for God, watch over each other
for good for the glory of God and the mutual happiness of each other.
Male Members: -Female
Members: Randal Robinson, -Fereby Robinson, Peter Duncin. -Mariah
Pinkard. Sam. D. Echols.- Sarah, woman of color. -Silla, woman of
From Anderson's History
of Coweta County: "At the time of the sale of lots in Newnan there were
two squatter settlers in town, Wm. A. Hicks and James Caldwell, they
both had houses of entertainment for travelers. Jacob L. and James A.
Abrahams had a log cabin in the square with a store;" these were all.
William U. Anderson purchased a lot, and one month later, moved to
Newnan, finding it "improved with the following settlements and
citizens: Clark A. Rooney, with a store where the First National Bank
now is; Thomas Roney, first post master; Wm. Ix>w, Wm. W. Barrett,
Wm. Nimmons, Willis Kilgore, Richard M. Hackney, David Wright, Jeremiah
L. Cheatham, Peter Hilton, John 0. and Charles Dickson, carpenters;
Winchester Dumas as hotel keeper; Wm. Hunt, tailor; Peter Henin,
blacksmith shop with Peter Mercer as foreman, and a negro blacksmith;
also Peter. James Hutchinson with a store on the west side of the
square. Lawyers: Wm. Daniel, John M. Thomas, James Thompson, Josephus
Echols; Doctors: James M. Lyons, J. Palmore, Levi T.
Anderson erected a
blacksmith shop on the lot the old jail now occupies. Wm. Salsbury and
John Willson, a mason; Kellers & McGilvary opened the fourth store,
the next month; Robert Davis & J. Stewart with their steam saw
mill, called a whip saw, could easily get out 500 feet of lumber a day.
Later in the year Joseph
Williams came and a brick mason named King, from Tennessee; William and
Stephen Hayes, carpenters; William Terry bought out Dumas* hotel; Dumas
settled the old Fisher lot and opened another hotel, having a large
wooden goose for a sign. Terry sold his hotel shortly to "that prince
of hotel keepers, John Dougherty," and bought a house where the
Virginia House now stands. Peter Herrin bought an interest in Hick's
hotel (Hicks & Herrin) making four in the place.
Dr. Palmore taught the
first school in the court house on the square in a log house.
Both the First and Sixth
districts are credited with the first organization of Methodist
churches, by Rev. W. W. Stegall of Fayette county. The one in the First
was called Tranquil, the one in the Sixth is not identified but was
organized in February with Rev. Willis D. Matthews as preacher (circuit
rider). The first sermon preached in Newnan is credited to Rev. Dabney
P. Jones, it was delivered in the log court-house. The Newnan Methodist
church was organized this year but the records have not been found to
give the date. The Presbyterians organized June 28, near Bullsboro with
Reverend Messrs. Chamberlain and Richards as organizers.
About this time Colonel
Zachariah Phillips, James Clemmons and Thomas A. Latham, lawyers,
settled in Newnan. Joseph Shaw, Senator, and Anthony North,
Representative, were elected in October to the Legislature that cut off
from Coweta county the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth districts—except two
ranges of land lots on their south sides—to Campbell county.
Daniel Morgan moved into
the First district from Newberry District, South Carolina.
Judge Colquitt opened
court with song and prayer. The number of travelers over the roads and
Indian trails was very great—so great that one old person related that
her father removed from his home on the main road and established
another where he would not be called upon so frequently to entertain
travelers. Though there was much to risk in taking in strangers, all
seem to have taken the risk to a certain extent, protecting themselves
from danger by having the guest room out in the yard, a separate
structure from the host's dwelling house. Several of these guest houses
are still shown in 1926. Jacob L. Abrams was elected Colonel (of
militia) and Andrew J. Berry, Major, but Governor Forsyth refused to
commission them, for the reason that he did not know that the
population entitled the county to a Colonel. He ordered an election for
Major, and Nicholas Dyer was elected, but learning that the county was
entitled to a Colonel he ordered an election for one and another Major;
Wenston Wood was elected Colonel and Abraham Roberts, Major, but both
soon moved away.
At the election of this
year, the first Monday in January, Samuel D. Echols, Christopher B.
Brown, Benaiah McLendon, Dr. Levi T. Wellborn and Nicholas Dyer were
elected Judges of the Inferior Court, (and in March the first recorded
court held,) Sihon House elected clerk, John Fleming, Tax Receiver,
Silas Reynolds, Tax Collector. Courthouse erected This court let the
contract for building the in 1829. courthouse; awarding it
to Captain William Hitchcock, who by vigorous work completed it
in the year. His head mason. Captain John D. Brown, and head carpenter,
Mercer Babb, both became citizens of Newnan afterward. Captain
Hitchcock was one of the foremost contractors of that time, about
twenty courthouses in the State were built by him.
The academy was completed
and ready for school purposes within the year and Colonel W. B. W. Dent
was the first teacher, but for only a short time, the Reverend W.
Eming, a Presbyterian minister, com-pleting the year, in his stead;
leaving for the North at the close.
Lawyer Thomas A. Latham
removed to Campbellton; but James G. Lyle, John Ray, William B. Cobb
and William B. Pryor, all lawyers, came in.
Historian Anderson adds,
after giving these names, "and will be mentioned hereafter; 1 will say
to our lawyer friends, as the boy said to his mother when he returned
from the muster, and was asked if he fired his gun as the others did;
he said, 'No, I was afraid, but I loaded every time the others did.'
His mother told him to give her the gun, she would show him she was not
afraid—raised the gun to her shoulder and fired to be kicked over flat
on her back. The boy cried, 'Lay still, ma, there is seventeen more
loads to come yet!* So our lawyers may lie still, there are
seventy-five more coming before we get them all in."
"Of the doctors: Joel W.
Terrell, Wheeler Randall, William P. Echols became citizens of Newnan
this year. James M. Lyons moved to West Point, J. Head settled in the
"Winchester Dumas opened
a store along with his hotel, but failed before the year ended. Other
merchants opening up were Earnest L. Whittick, and Samuel McJunkin, Mr.
A. Clark, of the firm of Clark & Roney, left for Campbell, Dennis
Sullivan taking his place with Roney. A. J. Berry moved
over from Bullsboro in the fall.
"The first marriage in
Newnan was that of Richard M. Hackney and Milly Ann Griggs; John E.
Robinson and Mary Wingfield, the second; and Judge Keeler and Ann
Stokes in March.
"The first saloon was
opened by Minor W. Harris, a saddler's shop by Samuel Keller, but he
was enticed away to Campbellton by the expectation of steam boats
running to that place; the first boot and shoe shop was opened by
Willard and William Bradley. Two more tailors, Angus Mclver and Charles
Nelms; one painter, the first, Richard W. East came in, but William
Salsbury sold his brick yard to Captain Hitchcock and moved to
Columbus. Colonel George Pentecost and his bride; Williamson Pentecost,
of Palmetto, moved in.
"Sameul D. Echols was
elected Senator; Dr. Levi T. Wellborn, Representative, in October.
"Levi Willcoxon bought
the Herrin and Hicks hotel and became a citizen here.
"George Edward Smith came
to bring hands to clear land and build cabins for his uncle, Dr. Ira E.
Smith, and, after taking the wagon back, returned afoot to drive
cattle, receiving twenty-five cents a da> wages, from two well-to-do
men moving from Oglethorpe county; beginning the battle of life unaided
save by his energy, resolution and sagacity."
The grand jury among
other presentments had this: "We present as a grievance the neglect of
our public officers to bring to justice those persons who violate our
laws in their presence; the melancholy and recent fate of one of our
citizens who was ushered from time into eternity with-out a moment's
warning—unprepared and unexpectedly sent to his long home."
Ten presentments were
made for fighting, one for "retailing spirituous liquors on Sunday,
July 12, without license."
Rev. James Reeves, one of
the indefatigible pioneer preachers helping to organize many churches
in this and surrounding counties, deserves mention for his zeal in
preaching the gospel that meant so much to him, in homes, rude school
houses, and, even, by the roadside, for the love of Christ and welfare
of souls, without pay or promise of it, content to support himself by
fanning and give his ministry to all who would heed.
Holly Springs Church,
nine miles south of Newnan, on the Greenville road was organized May
first, with nine members. Ministers present were Reverends John G. Fry,
elected pastor; and John Gillcoat.
From an old "Secretary's
Book to record the minutes of the Lodge, Andrew J. Berry, Sec'ty.," on
the inside of the front cover, with "Georgia Coweta County Newnan
AL5829", without punctuation, in a line below; the property now (1926)
of H. E. Ragland of Newnan. The first record, February 10, A L 5829
(1829), begins, "At a regular meeting of Burns Lodge," showing that the
lodge had been organized sometime in the first year of Newnan's
history. At this meeting were, John McKnight, W. M.; Levi T. Wilborn,
S. W.; Wm. A. Hicks, J. W.; John McGilvary, Sec'ty. pro tern; James
Holdstock, Tyler; but it is signed by "John Vinyard, Sec'ty. protem."
New members were added at
each meeting, Andrew J. Berry, Wm. A. Hunt, John T. Leftwich, Wm. W.
Barratt, Richard W. East, Thomas Steward, Benjamin B. Peck, John Powel,
Leroy Curry, T. L. Hicks, Wm. P. Echols, Wm. B. W. Dent, John Caldwell,
and Charles Cleghorn, John D. Brown, King W. Perry, Carrington Knight,
Jacob L. Abrahams, Wm. B. Lowry, Wheeler Randall, Charles Wakefield,
Thomas A. Latham, Silas Reynolds, John Dougherty, Dennis Sullivan,
Robert Martin, George Wakefield, Julius Alford, Angus Mclver, Uriah
Glass, Giles S. Boggers, Amos Helton, John Long (of Carroll County),
Wm. M. Rodgers, Michael Ford, Wm. Eubank, being added in a year.
Their "annual sermon was
preached by Rev. Carter."
"Officials elected the
first Monday in January: Daniel Whitaker* Sheriff; William A. Hicks,
Clerk, Superior Court; Zachariah Chandler, Tax Collector; George
Pentecost, County Surveyor; M. Dickson, Coro-ner; the others were
re-elected. On Sunday night before the election one of the candidates
made a regular barbecue and that secured his election.
"The second saloon was
opened by Benton Walton. James Wood brought a stock of goods belonging
to Benjamin Barber, and opened a store in Newnan; others opened were by
Isham S. Ramey, John W. Pentecost, Herbert C. Raimey, WiUlard Fisher,
George Scott; in the country: Turentine & Cheek and Thomas Watson
in the Third District; B. O. and T. M. Jones, on Line Creek; John H.
Johnson in the Seventh District; Hugh Brewster in the Sixth; with
Charles Tolliver, Owen H. Kencn, Thomas White and others,
locations not specified. A lawyer, John T. Leftwick, came and later
married........................Lane, a music teacher in town; two
doctors, W. P. Rainey and Jeremiah Bell; three carpenters, Thomas and
Signa Moore and James Holsack; another blacksmith, Wilshen L. Shipp;
hatters' shop, by Robert Shipp and Dr. Lowery. The
population was added to by A. P. Hunter and family; Colonel Thomas P.
Hudson, Joel Hick, Mrs. Pryor................... Hicks—father of all
Hicks—Thomas Cooper, Samuel
Hutchinson,........................Taylor. Samuel McJunkin,
a merchant, but never a citizen, had for clerks, Thomas and J. Cummis,
King W. Perry, J. J. Pinson; Elkany Denson, who opened a cake shop,
then a regular business; Charles Wheelan, a tailor; and an old
traveling tailor, named Keber, made visits along through the years.
John McKnight, Senator
and John Terry, Representative, were elected in October. This
Legislature cut off part of the Third and Fourth Districts to Heaid
county, taking the Sheriff and an Inferior Court Judge.
While new citizens came
in, others left.
Anderson tells, "John
Huff came this year with three likely negroes, a horse, cart and yoke
of oxen, with Abel Harrison as driver of the cart. Huff drank
considerably so that, bachelor though he was, his negroes and cart
could not keep him up. Wanting money, he pawned a negro for
twenty-five dollars, to work until the money was paid, giving his
note—as he thought for the money, but when he went to take up th note
and redeem his negro, he was told that he had sold the negr the man
producing a bill of sale, all regularly witnessed. Huff
contended that it was not a sale—only a note given for the money, sued,
but never recovered his negro. Getting deeper in debt, he
sold his horse, cart and oxen and left for parts unknown and his credit
__ to shift as best they could, Abel Harrison, for his eight dollars a
___ wages, with the rest; but he went over to Carroll county, where the
___ fever was raging, rolled up his sleeves and accumulated a handsome
property, becoming one of Carroll's representative men."
Josiah Stewart, from
Henry county, moved into the lower part of the county, about two miles
northeast of where Haralson is now.
Leonard and Caroline Pass
Peek and Mrs. Frances Peek, widow of General John Pass, Revolutionary
hero, were of those moving into the county. In the index
wjll be found the names of many of the settlers who cannot be placed
here as the years of their coming are not known. The Methodists built a
new church on a lot in the rear of what is now 31 Wesley Street. It was
very small, about thirty feet square, but that little pioneer
congregation rejoiced in it with Rev. Richard I. Winn as their pastor
for the year.
M. M. H. vs. E.F. In the
Inferior Court, Case for malicous prosecution.
In consideration of E.
F.'s giving to the plaintiff one Cow and Calf, a Sow with Pigs, a Two
Dollar Note, and paying M. M. H.'s wife for two days' attendance in
Newnan, and the Attorney's fee, which is paid by notes, it is agreed
that the above case be entered settled.
Dec. 9th, 1830.
At a meeting April 24th,
the Newnan Baptists agreed to raise a sub-scription to build a meeting
house sixty by forty feet to be propor-tioned and finished in such a
manner as the committee may .think proper; and further agreed that John
Wood, Samuel D. Echols, R. B. Wooten, Joel W. Terrell, John D. Hinton,
Dennis Sullivan, Henry Keller, Wm. A. Hicks and John McKnight be the
committee for the same.
May 29th, "To build a
Baptist meeting house on lot No. 40 in the ?5th district, Coweta
county, lying due north of the public square or town of Newnan, on the
south part of said lot so as to embrace the two in streets leading
north from the public square and a spring on the ___t side of the road
leading to Campbellton."
The church further agrees
that they require of brother Salsbury 15 ___ of land for the benefit of
said church, to build the church on." ___w for the working of the
public roads of the county was passed, ___e Masons celebrated St.
John's Day, June 24, with a dinner at John Dougherty's for which they
paid $1.50 for each plate, out of the funds of the lodge.
"Brother Lanier," whether a minister or not, is not stated in the old
book of minutes, was the speaker of the day.
Names added to their
roll, Wiley G. Parks, Clayton Williams, Thomas R. H. Poteet, Batty H.
Mitchell, Wm. T. Williamson, Charles Whelan, Samuel B. Hutchinson,
Mordecai C. Howard, Zachariah Phillips. Andrew Craig.
Newnan Baptist Church
welcomed the second meeting of the West-ern Association of Baptist
churches, sixteen churches having formed it November 7, 1829, at
LaGrange, but grown by this meeting to thirty-two churches and the
membership of them from 495 to 1,143. Rev. John Wood served as
clerk. Rev. J. Bankston, moderator.
Among many families
moving into the county this year these names are recorded:
Robert, James and William Russell; Robert Y. and James Brown; Abraham
and several other Carmichaels; James Thompson; Edward Pass; James and
Hosea Gray; James Bexley; Hiram Camp; George Hendrix; Elisha Simms;
Richard and Rev. Charles Leavell; Dr. I. E. Smith; George Smith and
James Eckless; with several of each of the following names:
"Youngs, Lessleys, Stewarts, Hunters, Brysons, Tolberts, Chalners and
Bowers—all psalm-singing Presbyterians, descendants of the Scotch-Irish
of County Down, and Antrim, Ireland, who came to South Carolina during
the early days of its settlement, finding homes in Abbeville, Newberry
and Laurens Districts, who settled the White Oak community."'
Miss Nora Page, of Turin,
gave these additional names of early settlers: from South Carolina,
Dominicks, Shells, Leavells, Pages, Coles, Summers, Linchs, Tenchs,
Eddys, Couchs and Sibleys; from Brunswick county, Virginia, settling in
the Sixth district, Goodwins, Parks, Baileys, Smiths, Griffins,
Ragsdales, Overbys, Hunnicutts, Atkinsons, Cooks, Glass, Norths,
Wynnes; from Lexington county, South Carolina, settling around the
present town of Haralson, Rawls, Swygerts, Bedenbaughs, Grays.
Henry Keller elected
Sheriff, January 1, to replace D. Whittaker, cut off into Heard county,
and other officers re-elected. One lawyer added to the bar, J. Howard;
two doctors, Bell and Rainey, moved elsewhere; three new stores—two
Cowans, a Willcoxen and a McGilvany. James Wood bought out Sullivan and
Roney, Sullivan moved to Columbus, Roney, fleeing his creditors, to
parts unknown, James Wood becoming the second postmaster. Thomas W.
Bolton bought Terry's hotel, his nephew, Dr. H. L. Lestergett, moving
to Newnan to take charge of it. Benton Walton sold his saloon to George
E. Smith, building another—making three in town besides, being the
custom of the time, all stores kept liquor for sale. John S. Story
(two, a senior and junior) and Wm. M. Storey and Peter Hurston, all
blacksmiths, moved in. Several families moved away, but many more came
in, settlements being made in all parts of the county.
The Baptist Church was
incorporated and the Act recorded in their minutes: "An Act
to incorporate the Baptist Church near Newnan, in the County of Coweta."
William Salisbury, Randal
Robinson, Samuel D. Echols, Richard B. Woo ten and Joel W. Terrell were
elected trustees for 1831. In June the church in conference "Agreed
that the trustees call on the justices of the Inferior Court for a
title to Lot No. 76 (whereon the old Baptist Church formerly stood)."
In July they had the desired deed in conference and vested the trustees
with power to sell said lot privately and, if necessary, on time. All
the churches were given lots. ( But they did not ask for the deeds
until after they had occupied the lots for several years and built
second church house.)
Brother Salsbury yielded
the land—or ten acres of it—that his church "required" of him in April
1830, and his deed has several in-teresting points as may be noted from
"That the said William
Salisbury, for and in consideration of the sum of One Dollar to him in
hand paid at and before the sealing and delivery of these presents by
the said Trustees (as of love and good will towards the success and
advancement of the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ) hath devised, and
granted, and by these presents doth devise and grant unto the said
Trustees of the Newnan Church and their successors in office, for the
use of the Baptist denomination of the State of Georgia (holding to the
following articles of faith, towit:
(The articles of faith
are omitted as they were given in connection with the organization of
All that tract or parcel
of land contained in the following boundaries towit: Commencing at the
stake standing west from Jackson Street near its mouth on the north
part of Newnan, thence running east seven chains to a pine stake,
thence north thirteen chains and eighty-four links to a black-jack
corner, thence west seven chains to a post-oak corner and from thence
to the place of beginning containing ten acres to the same, more or
To have and to Hold all
and singular the said primises unto the said Trustees and their
successors in office for the use of the Baptist Denomination may and
will use the same and occupy the said dscribed premises for the public
worship of Almighty God; provided always that these presents are upon
the following conditions, towit: That if it shall happen that the said
Trustees of the Newnan Church, or their successors in office, for the
use of the Baptist Denomination of the State of Georgia, shall change
their above Articles of Faith, or shall covenant and dispose of the
aforesaid premises for any other purposes than those herein mentioned,
then and from thenceforth, in either of those cases it shall and may be
lawful to and for the said William Salisbury, his heirs, executors and
administrators into and upon the said granted premises in the name of
the whole re-enter and the same to have again re-possess and enjoy as
in his and their first and former estate and right."
Samuel D. Echols was
elected Senator and James Wood Representative."
Reverend Joseph Y.
Alexander moved in and took charge of the Academy as teacher at the
same time holding the pastorate of the Presbyterian Church. The
vacancies for officers of the militia were filled by the election of
John W. Pentecost, Colonel, and John Jester, Major.
The musters of the
militia were very important events several times a year. Every
ablebodied white male citizen between the ages of eighteen and
forty-five was subject to military duty. Sixty-four men
constituted a full company; the smallest military division of territory
being the captain's district and in this there were four musters a year
for drilling, but as the men did not have to wear uniforms, their line
was more ludicrous than martial. They were armed with "a musket having
a smooth-bore barrel on a rough-and-ready straight stock, with thimbles
on the under side of the barrel to hold the ram-rod, and discharged by
means of a flint and steel lock which cast a spark into a small metal
pan primed with powder which caught the spark, flashing fire into the
barrel at the side of the breech through a touch hole, and exploding
the charge which had been rammed tightly to the bottom of the barrel;
the ball or load of buckshot was thus driven out with the force to do
good execution at a hundred yards distance." Once a year there was a
regimental muster. Once a year an officers' muster which might continue
three days. Many humorous descriptions of the musters were written;
every one with a sense of humor found at them ample subject matter for
copy. The refreshment stands of those days offered persimmon beer and
ginger cakes for sale. Many times these stands were conducted by
Anderson tells a story
illustrating the excitement over gold mine prospects in Carroll county
:"A man passed through Newaan on his way to search for a mine, stopping
for dinner, and to have his horse shod. After he left the hotel keeper
found a paper he had dropped in the hotel, revealing his business, what
lot he was after and where the man lived to whom it belonged.
In an hour there was a
company formed to beat the stranger to the owner, who lived down on the
Florida line, but none of them were willing to undertake the trip. At
two o'clock in the evening (afternoon; in those days all called the
afternoon 'evening,' and the evening 'night') they went to Anderson's
blacksmith shop with a fine tale and a fortune ahead, if he would beat
the other man to the owner of the lot, in Decatur county, with a
promise of a full share for his service, if he succeeded. He agreed, if
he could buy a certain mare, in town, to try. The owner of the mare
would not part with her for Such a trip, but all were determined not to
be defeated. One of the men had a good old horse, the owner said to
take and be off, which Anderson did by four o'clock . Had supper at
Greenville, breakfast at Talboton, stopping the next night a hundred
miles from Newnan. The old horse distanced the man over a hundred
miles, but said man had heard of his competitor and, more important,
that the owner of the land lot had moved so he turned back to hunt him
Anderson reached the
former home of the man he was seeking before learning of his removal,
and, undeterred, started in pursuit to Laurens county, but learning on
the way, that the first man had three days start of him, turned
homeward, like all other gold hunters, minus time of his long ride,
expenses and prospects.
After Anderson left,
others found out what was up, formed another company and the brother of
the owner of the lot made a quick trip to see him, finding that the lot
had been sold to their brother-in-law, Burch; he tried to buy it of
him, offering the grant fee and $25.00 which was accepted.
Resting until Monday, they went to a justice to draw the deed, but man
number one was there, and finding there was no deed made, offered
$200.00 for the land, the brother offered $300.00. Burch got excited
and refused to let any of them have it, but he had not had his deed
recorded. The original owner returned home and made a
second deed to his brother from Coweta county, this man hurried to
Newnan and made a deed to another, and on to Carroll county had it
recorded. The man Burch, came on, looked over the land without getting
excited, but as he passed Newnan on his way home, the company having
the recorded deed, bought his title for $500.00. On
visiting their property, they were disappointed, but in an effort to
make it profitable dug a pit and salted (as it was called) it with
gold, returned home and offered to sell out to others of the company,
who, after examining the pit, paid the swindlers $1,200.00 for one-half
the lot. Careful prospecting and investigation revealed the fraud, and
a lawsuit followed that lasted some time. Later the place was settled
by a good farmer, who made it better than a gold mine."
Colonel John Dickson,
Revolutionary soldier, and elder in the Presbyterian Church, died about
his eightieth year.
The Presbyterian Church
was given a charter.
The St. John's Day sermon
to the Masons, "after a prayer by Rev. J. Y. Alexander, a very
appropriate oration was delivered by Brother John T. Leftwich at the
The two-story house on
land lot 26, "the first frame house erected in the Sixth district. All
nails made by hand at a blacksmith shop."
King W. Perry, a merchant
on Line Creek, moved to Newnan, building a store where the Woolworth is
The greatly beloved
William Stegall was the Methodists' pastor.
The grand jury pleaded
for a court of errors; "so many cases seem so imperfectly considered,"
and for the division of the Cherokee lands.
James H.. Campbell with a
negro workman started the first wagon shop in the county. John and
Charles Dickson removed to Greenville. Anderson D. Abrahams went into
the ice business, but failed to save a pound for warm weather.
Afterward with Jacob L. Abrahams he opened a new store.
The Fourth of July was
celebrated with a barbecue and temperance rally. The Rev. Dabney P.
Jones made a temperance speech, his first in Major Anderson's opinion,
but the beginning of a labor that ended only with his life.
Mrs. Bird, afterward Mrs,
Napier of Macon, was assistant teacher to Professor Alexander; "the
first female teacher that ever taught in Newnan."
Representative re-elected and in addition a second, Dr. I. E. Smith,
Representative. Mrs. Keller, wife of the Judge, died and there were
several marriages, but the fist of those marrying in the county will be
found in the index. James Watkins moved in.
From the Masons' minutes:
"at the Methodist Church, after a prayer by Rev. Kelly, a very
appropriate address by Brother M. C. Howard."
February 7, "The cold
Saturday," Wilcox & McGilvary went out of business, George Scott
sold out to Phineas and Thomas Moore. Charles Wheeler, tailor, and Dr.
Wm. P. Echols moved to Alabama. Dr. Cannon H. Shipp started
merchandising in Newnan, and Major Hugh Brewster and Anthony North at
the latter's place on the Mcintosh road. John Carrington at the Cross
Roads in the First (district), William W. Sellman on Little White Oak.
The Willcoxon hotel was rented to Mrs. Phillips and William T.
Williamson. David Dukes, the Sheriff, absconded, owing many debts, and
leaving his bondsman to settle his defalcations. The First Presbyterian
Church was built this year.. Benjamin Barker closed out his business
and left. Batty H. Mitchell came and opened the second saddle and
harness shop. The members of General Assembly were re-elected at the
October elections. The Masons held a reorganization meeting. The county
shared in the excitement of the meteoric shower of November the 14th.
Five school districts were laid out and the trustees authorized to
apportion the Poor School Fund. Parents had to acknowledge themselves
to be paupers to get help from it; few would do so.
This year Reverend John
D. Fry closed a pastorate of three years at Holly Springs Church,
Reverend Berry Holmes succeeded him.
From the presentments of
the Grand Jury, "We present as grievance bail-playing against the court
house. The bad state of roads. Poorly enforced patrol law. The
miserable condition of the streets of Newnan. We ask the judges of the
Inferior court to have Franklin (lightning) rods put on the court house
and to require those having offices in it, to have glass put in the
windows. The latter request suggests the reason for objection to the
Cordial T. Wellborn came
from Crawfordville, Ga., and established a buggy and carriage
shop. His little daughter, Sarah, of eight years at the
time of his coming, told in her hundredth year, 1926, of this time when
every house in Newnan was of logs, and dense forests surrounded the
town. The log schoolhouse was on the public square.
Children played making play-houses of sticks and stones, used acorns
for cups and saucers, made hats and sashes of leaves pinned together,
were happy with grape-vine swings and jumping ropes and gathering wild
flowers in spring and summer and nuts in the fall, as all country
children in all years have done. That children got a great thrill
from meeting the Revolutionary soldier, William Smith, then living near
by. "Children had to help with the housework in those days when all the
garments had to be, not only made at home, but the thread and cloth to
make them of, had to be made there too"—There was more to it than just
the spinning and weaving; the wool and cotton had to be carded into
rolls before they could be spun, and quills (bobbins used in weaving)
filled before the weaving could begin. I loved that job at
first, but alas! having to do it often made me grow to hate it,"
another daughter of the pioneers added.
As no record of the
Methodists' pastor for 1832 and '33 can be found, and the name of
William Stegall appears for this year—1834, this, taken with his
reputation as "greatly beloved" is strong evidence that he served the
Methodistical limit of four years.
Harrison Sutherland was
hanged for killing J. Hillsman; the county's first execution. Other
murders had been committed, but accused made their escape in some
cases, were acquitted in others.
After teaching school in
the county seven years Major Beverly D. Johnson was admitted to the bar
to practice in Coweta.
On three acres of land
donated by Reverend John S. Bigby, one mile east from the present
location of Raymond, Mount Gilead Methodist Church was organized with
Rev. W. W. Stegall for pastor.
Major William A. Terrell
succeeded Mrs. Phillips and Williamson at one hotel and Charles F.
Sherburn, Dr. Lestergett, at the other. Samuel McJunkin closed out his
stock of goods; Anderson D. Abrahams dissolved partnership with Jacob
L. and removed to South Carolina. Dr. Wimbish left. Work for carpenters
was so scarce that two, Segna and Thomas Moore left.
William U. Anderson sold
his blacksmith shop to Peter Hurston moving three miles north of
Newnan, settling a place later bought by James Brewster; In addition to
their tan-yard on Wahoo Creek, William F. and E. M. Storey, located one
in Newnan; Judge Keller moved to the country, settling Willow Grove
(later the home of James Watkins), merchandising there for two years;
William Nimms became the third postmaster.
In addition to being
re-elected with the other members of the assembly, James Wood was
elected, by the Legislature, Brigadier General to fill the vacancy
caused by the resignation of General Sledge.
Having command, but not
living in our county, Samuel Armstrong Baily was the first Major
General, and Sledge the first Brigadier, Fannin, of later Mexican
massacree fame, was Brigade Inspector of superb abilities as a drill
New citizens: Colonel
Littleton Spivey, Peleg S. Mason, Mathew H. Pentecost, Thomas Hughey,
William Bilbo, Robert L. Newman, Anselm B; Leigh and his sons, Jackson
Neely, John Goddice, William and Charles Cleghorn moved away."
New tax officials this
year, John Hardeman, Receiver; John Carrington, Collector, embezzled
the money and fled, his bondsmen having to settle his defalcations. E.
M. Storey was elected Major. Removals, Josephus Echols, to Columbus;
Robert S. Burch, Dr. Levi T. Wellborn, to Eufala, Alabama, where he
died; Cannon F. Shipp and Hughey & Killgore sold out their goods to
Peter E. Duncan who moved them to Duncan Town,", since known as
Macedonia (Church). February 8th was kept in the memory of those living
then as the "Cold Saturday," and the year as the "Dry Year," no rain
falling from March to September.
Elisha and Josiah Brown
became merchants in Newnan. Richard M. Fletcher and James A. (or L.)
Abrahams, sold out to the Storeys. Phineas and Thomas Moore sold to
Nemmons & Terrill. Willis Killgore became the fourth
postmaster. Thomas W. Bolton succeeded Sherburn as
hotel-keeper. Major Terrell failed and Bolton rented that hotel and
closed it up. Benton Walton sold his grocery and moved to Augusta.
Jacob L. Abrahams closed out his business. John W. Pentecost moved his
stock of goods to Cedar Creek, above Sewell Mills. John D. Hinton
opened a stock of goods. William U. Anderson sold his farm, returned to
town, and built a two-story blacksmith shop on the corner that was
later occupied by Burpee's leather shop, rented the upper story to
Donaldson & Harris for a carriage shop. Charles S. Anderson opened
another blacksmith shop.
The Coweta Advertiser,
Newnan's first paper, was started by Samuel W. Minor, but it was short
lived as was the second, started soon after by a man named Nelson,
being followed in the fall by the Palladium, published by C. F.
Sherburn, from the issue of September 5th these items have been
preserved: Advertisement of The Golden Star Hotel, kept by T. W.
Bolton. Dr. A. B. Calhoun had a notice as administrator of the William
B. H. Mitchell announces
himself a candidate for clerk of the Superior court. Thomas A Grace, W.
F. S. Powell and others warn the public against an impostor. William U.
Anderson and Henry Kellar are on the list of Grand Jurors.
Cotton quotations 11 to 17 cents in Columbus. John S. Storey moved to
Carroll. William M. to the country. Isham Huckaby, Revolutionary
soldier, aged ninety-three, died in the Fourth district.
Re-elected the same legislators.
Rev. Morgan Bellah was
pastor of Newnan and Mount Gilead Methodist Churches. Rev. B. Holmes,
of the Newnan Baptist—his third year. The minutes of this church for
this year have some very interesting stories: "Took up a reference
against Brother Niblet for intoxication; after hearing his
acknowledgments, the church forgave him;" "Appointed brothers C. T.
Wellborn and S. Reynolds to keep the key of the house and keep closed
the windows and doors for twelve months and that for said service they
receive from the church at the end of 12 months the sum of $12.50."
Ebenezer McKinley moved
in, a most admirable citizen, and another was Robert S. Burch.
Bethel Baptist Church was
moved over to Heard county, fifteen miles southwest of Newnan; it had a
membership of one hundred and seventy-five at the time, many of them
citizens of Coweta county, making the history of this church a part of
Coweta. Rev. Joseph Bankston, pastor since 1829, continued in that
office after the removal assisted by Rev. W. Henderson. Rev. John G.
Fry was pastor of Ebenezer from 1833 to 1840.
About this time Concord
Methodist church wasre moved, the building having become dilapidated,
to a location on the plantation of Lieut. W. M. Redwine, between Big
and Little Cedar Creeks, on the old Campbellton road between Palmetto
and Newnan on six acres of land-lot 176, Fifth district, and a building
was erected. Trustees: Dabney P. Jones, James Kelley, Richard P. Penn,
Lewis and John Red-wine.
The only evidence of the
first location of this church is the burying ground where the remains
of Jacob Redwine, great-grandfather of Ben. L., Frank H. and Dr. R. W.
Redwine; John Powell, great-great-grandfather of J. H. Powell and Mrs.
Lynch Turner; and other pioneers lie". From Mrs. N. L. Cook.
From 1830 to 1838 the
Assembly voted certain school funds for the counties; an academic fund
and a poor school fund—about $250.00 a year-that was not claimed by the
counties because even the very poor were too proud to take the shameful
pauper's oath necessary to securing its help. The Coweta grand jury
this year asked the Assembly to combine the funds for free schools over
the county, but a minority of the members of that jury objected, urging
the greater importance of having the poor learn manual labor. This jury
also, as had many previous ones complained of the lack of a court of
errors to re-consider and revise hasty judgments of their present
On the east side of the
square old Papa Minor had a hand-press that he claimed once belonged to
Benjamin Franklin. He published a little weekly paper, to
supply the town with the latest news. His paper was the first in the
country to place at its masthead the name of Andrew Jackson for the
Presidency of the United States. Near the printing office John Ray, a
natural born Irish orator, kept his law office. John
Dougherty, another Irishman, kept a tavern on the southwest
corner. A yankee by the name of Fisher sold New England rum
at 12 1/2 c per half-pint on the southside. John Story ran a blacksmith
shop on the west side. I lived on the northside, on
adjoining lot to A. J. Berry.
There was an old man in
the country named Jimmie Walters. The old fellow liked his dram and
sometimes would get a "drop too much" of Fisher's rum and camp on the
streets. The boys would find him,, black him, crate him, and swing him
to a horse-rack. About the crack of day the old man would be ready to
put his hat and shoes in "soak" for a drink.
There was a tailor here
by the name of Hays, who volunteered in the war of 1836. While
manipulating his goose he used U sing,
'Haint it a pity for such
a pretty man as I To go away to Florida, and pine away and die.'" By Q.
C. Grice, Inman, Ga., in The Newnan Herald.
This year was a year of
excitement owing to troubles with the Indians that resulted in the "War
of 1836" or the "Indian War" as different writers call it.
William U. Anderson raised a company for the Florida campaign, but the
requisition for Georgia troops was filled before his report reached the
governor. Anderson resigned the command of the company and
went into other business, but was soon ordered to the Creek
war. He called out the company, read his orders to them,
but declined to assume command of the company unless re-elected. After
some correspondence with Governor Schley, owing to a controversy that
had developed, the order was countermanded, and another given for the
raising of another company by draft or voluntary enlistment. Anderson,
acting Adjutant for Colonel Pentecost, received the orders and ordered
out the regiment in three days for a draft which caused much
excitement. This regiment was composed of the men of
certain ages who constituted the militia and were required to meet at
musters at certain intervals for drilling and inspection in preparation
for such emergencies as this. Colonel Pentecost read the
order to the regiment after it was formed by the Adjutant (acting) and
advised voluntary enlistment, saying that Coweta should never submit to
a draft. Major Storey made a speech urging them to volunteer followed
by one from Anderson. Then ordering the drum and fife to beat up and
down the line, the latter officers soon had eighty-three volunteers.
The regiment was then dismissed and the company of volunteers marched
to town and elected William IT. Anderson, Captain; Edward M. Story, 1st
Lieutenant; Daniel C. Turrentine, 2nd Lieutenant; Calvin T. Jones,
Ensign; A. P. Hunter, First Sergeant.
The same day a cavalry
company of eighty-three men was raised and elected Gilbert D. Greer,
Captain; Pleasant A. Lawson, 1st Lieutenant; Nicholas Dyer, 2nd
Lieutenant; Beverly D. Thompson (01 Thomason, the name is spelled both
ways). Ensign; John Jester, First Sergeant; Cicero D. Hudson, Secretary.
June 4th the soldiers
were formed in line on the west side of the court house where James
Wood, a private, later made Brigadier General, made an address, though
a hard rain was falling during his talk— a rain so heavy that Berry's
branch was swollen to a river's width of about fifty yards when the
soldiers crossed there on their march to Columbus, the place named as
rendezvous for all the troops. They camped about a mile form Hamilton,
Harris county, having only one tent for protection against the floods
of rain that fell. It was at Girard, near Columbus that the army of ten
Our cavalry being
mustered into service June 6, the infantry on the 7, for three months,
unless sooner discharged. The cavalry was organized into a battalion
and elected Julius C. Alford, from LaGrange, Major. After two or three
days, "we were ordered to West Point, Ga. with General James Wood as
our commander. We had there seven companies of infantry organized into
a battalion with William Wood, of Heard county, Lt. Colonel; John
Chambers, of Carroll county, Major; Nicholas Thompkins, Adjutant." They
were in service nearly six months.
Benjamin Leigh, one of
the cavalrymen, a mere youth but a strong advocate of temperance,
helped stave in whiskey barrels and pour out the liquor—a wise
precaution for the whites as well as to prevent its falling into the
hands of the Indians. Many friendly Indians were with the collected
army and years afterward Benjamin Leigh told of seeing them play their
In White's "Historical
Collections" is copied from the Palladium, a Newnan newspaper of 1836,
the following account of a great day in Newnan. A military detachment
under Captain H. Garmany stopped for refreshment on their return from
the Creek war and were given an ovation.
Early on the morning of
Tuesday, 26th ult., our citizens were apprised of the approach of a
company of our chivalrous up-country volunteers; we at once thought it
to be our own—but when they approached, who should it be but the
gallant Captain Garmany, with a part of his command. They
were received with enthusiasm by our citizens, and were compelled by
urgent solicitation to partake of a breakfast with us—after which the
ladies and gentlemen of the town and its vicinity repaired to the
court-house to welcome this heroic band. Col. W. D. Spear was called to
the chair, and after making a few pertinent remarks, suitable to the
occasion, the following song was, after proper intervals, sung thrice,
with weeping eyes and great applause:—
CAPTAIN GARMANY'S FIGHT
Tune—'Scots wha ha', etc.
"See the Chattahoochee
By Roanoke descending low;
There our soldiers met
Fierce as prowling
"God- was not Thy
When to Thee, with
Looked our soldiers,
while the cry
Burst like wild wolves
"Hear our Captain's
Let no craven fear be
Here no aid can find us-
"Who a home or loved one
Fight like whirlwinds in
their wrath -
Fight, there lies no
Wreath or shade must bind
"Should the God of
Blessings wait to crown
Many a listener we'll
With this day's bold
'Should we fall, we leave
Ages will be proud to
Death, upon the soldier's
Stamps the seal of glory.'
"Garmany, such thy
Now in song they name's
And thy gallant deeds are
While thousands throng
"Bravery makes the field
Beauty's grateful tear is
Who but would his life
Such the meed rewarding?
"After the singing had
ceased. Captain Garmany rose and said, in substance, as follows:
Mr. Chairman, I beg leave
to respond by offering my thanks both for myself and in behalf of my
company, for the honour conferred upon us. It is true we have
encountered hardships, difficulty, great danger, some suffering, and
the loss of some of our best men; yet we have done no more than our
duty, and duty which every man should at all times be ready to
discharge. You, dear females, I with pleasure behold here in peace, and
under the protection of the good and virtous; while my bosom burns at
the thought that I have seen the places where many of your sex have
been butchered by those blood-thirsty savages, too cruel to relate;
yes, so cruel and heart-rending, that my life has almost been my
Tears flowed from the
eyes of all in the house, which created an inexpressible feeling, and
we could not trace him further, only to say that he spoke the
sentiments of a warm and patriotic heart.
"The citizens wished to
retain (sic) them as guests until the morrow; but the anxiety of the
heroes to see and embrace their wives, daughters, and sisters, was such
that we had to succumb."
Of twenty-six cases in
superior court two were for assault; five, affray; two, hogstealing;
one, gaming; six larceny; one, misdemeanor; one, cheating; two perjury;
one, stabbing; one, malpractice.
The White Oak settlement,
Associate Reformed Presbyterians, bought a log church called "Smyrna"
from the Methodists, but at that time they could not be supplied with a
pastor of their own denomina-tion, so, with some members of the
Southern Presbyterian Church living among them, they applied to that
church for a minister, and the Flint River Presbytery ordered Reverend
J. Y. Alexander, stated supply of the Newnan church, to organize their
church. This he did October 21, 1837, with the name, "The White
Oak Presbyterian Church." The charter members were: Robert Russell,
James Thomp-son, Arthur Carmical, James Young, James Miller, Samuel P.
Evans, Thomas Holinghead, Robert Wadel, John McLure, Mary Russell, Mary
Atcherson, Elizabeth Thompson, Esther Young, Mary McLure, Mary Evans,
Margaret Wadel, Isabella Holinghead."
New merchants in the
county at this time, Kellar & Watkins, in Newnan; Dr. Watkins &
Hugh Houston, at Willow Grove; Coleman & Huggins, at Oak Lawn;
Skein & Brother, on the county line; Turren-tine & Levell, in
the First District; Sanders W. Lee, in the Second;1 John H. Tinch, on
White Oak; S. J. Harber, Fourth District; John B. Tendal, on Cedar
Creek; several Randals, in the Third District; Major Holland; Mr.
Wordsworth, a tan yard; Charles Emlin, a cabinet shop; John Hall, a
threshing machine factory—it was the custom to do the threshing at home
as well as the ginning. 1837.
In January, Jacobus
Gibson and family moved to the county from Greene county., Sherburn
discontinued the publication of the Palladium.
New merchants: Kilgore
& Reynolds, William U. Anderson, John and William B. Brown, but
John soon drew out and departed; George T. Anderson, blacksmithy,
William J. C. Kenada, jeweler and watch-maker. William W. Sellman,
merchant in First district. Miles Jones in the Sixth. King W. Perry
returned to his original location on Line Creek to merchandise and
farm. J. J. Pinson bought the interest of William Nimmons in the firm
of Nimmons & Terrell, but the new firm and George Scott removed to
Alabama. W. Fisher went out of business. Valentine Harden and sons and
Elam S. Ashcraft, carpenters, came in, but Ashcraft tried the broom
business, Anderson's History refers to it as "a successful failure."
E. M. Story was elected
Colonel after the death of Colonel Pentecost and Daniel C. Turrentine,
At the liquor shop of one
Jackson, in the country, William G. Kobb killed a man named Easterwood.
A "Female Academy" was
built this year and the Misses Chamber-lain employed as teachers. They
had a fine school. Later the Misses Berry succeeded them. Nicholas Dyer
took the place of James Wood ( General James Wood, who commanded the
Coweta troops along with companies from Carroll, Campbell, DeKalb,
Fayette (two), and Heard counties during the War of 1836 as well as
serving in the Legislature, moved to Columbus, Ga. A splendid portrait
of him, painted by his mother belongs to the Orr family at Moreland.)
in the Legislature. By
that body Willis Kilgore was elected to fill his place as Brigadier
General. John Neely, Revolutionary soldier, died at the age of
ninety-three. He had nine scars of battle on his body. Rev. C. Simmons
was pastor at Mount Gilead.
The Newnan Baptists had a
church trial during this year that is very entertaining. Brother Wooten
severely criticised Brother Bolton, who was a justice-of-the-peace, for
his decision in a case, calling him a "perjured man," for this Brother
Bolton sued him for slander and preferred charges against him before
the church conference which "laid the matter over till the next
meeting"—at which it was again "laid over." The charges were preferred
the 27th of January, but it was not taken up until March 23, and "after
considerable effort on the part of the church to settle the difficulty
resolved to send to the four nearest churches, namely, Macedonia,
Providence, Ebenezer and New Hope for three helps from each church to
meet at this place on Friday before the fourth sabbath in April next,
to try to settle the matter of difficulty." April 20, "when the
following brethren from sister churches were received as helps to sit
with us and assist in trying to settle the difficulty between brothers
Bolton and Wooten," viz., Martin and Conyers from Ebenezer, Scoggins,
Beavers, and Newton from Providence, Medows and Coleman from New Hope,
Moseley from Macedonia. The church then took up the
reference from last meeting and after placing the matter in the hands
of the committee they retired and made the following report:
"We, the committee,
recommend the church to require the dissatisfied parties to take the
steps pointed out in the scriptures, to obtain satisfaction, before the
church takes up any charge." Action was postponed until next day when
they adopted the following:
"1st., We the church
after some deliberation, agree to accept the report of the committee
with the following qualifications: We admit that Brother Wooten
violated the rule of Gospel order in speaking evil publicly of Brother
Bolton without first dealing with him as the gospel directs, and we
further admit that Brother Bolton did not persue the gospel steps in
commencing dealing with Brother Wooten, but before the matter was
brought into the church, private dealing was had by the direction of
the church. But as a church we maintain that we have received the case
in proper order as we advised the brethren to a course of private
labour before we received the case, which private labour was had by the
parties before the church ever received the case, but for the respect
we have for the brethren of the committee, we now agree to dismiss the
case as it now stands on the church book and proceed instanter to take
the case up in the following order:
"1st. We, the
church, charge Brother Wooten for evil speaking of his Brother Bolton
contrary to gospel order and the peace of the church.
"2nd. We, the
church, charge Brother Wooten for denying what he once admitted in the
church in relation to the original charge on the church book against
said Wooten and for making false statements on Friday, April 20, in the
church, saying Brother Bolton dictated the charge.
"3d. We, the church,
charge Brother Bolton for serving Brother Wooten at common law contrary
to the rules of our church and in violation of the gospel order.
"4th. We, the church,
further agree to investigate the truth or false-hood of Brother
Wooten's original public sayings about Brother Bolton. The case was
continued till the next day for this purpose."
At the May conference
Brother Wooten acknowledged the error of his doings-and sayings, but
they were not accepted for after discussion at several subsequent
meetings they took this action: "The church believes that it is most
for the glory of God and the good of the church to excommunicate
Brother Wooten from the privileges of the church. Which was done."
Brother Bolton's case was
taken up and for the same reasons he was excluded from the church, but
in the August (25) meeting, he appeared asking to be restored. Upon his
promise to drop his suit against Wooten, he was given the right hand of
Many of the minutes bear
record of the reception into membership of the slaves of those days,
"Dolly, a black woman of E. McKinley, was received," "Isaac, property
of Brother Bolton, was received by experience." "John, a man of color,
belonging to Levi Willcoxon, presented a letter to this church."
The Methodists had
Reverend John C. Simmons for two years, '37-'38, with Elias Story as
Junior on the circuit, the second year.
Colonel William Sellman
bought William U. Anderson's hotel. Dr. A. B. Calhoun went to France
for a course of lectures on medicine. Robert W. Simms was admitted to
the bar. John B. Tindall, one of the judges of the Inferior Court, died
A company of the militia,
under Captain E. M. Storey, from Coweta, formed part of the escort in
the removal of the Cherokees from their country to Indian Territory.
Augustus H. Stokes was a Colonel from Coweta in that service. Richard
M. Fletcher closed out his business and moved to Carroll county; Albert
Sears, a money lender came in. Same men sent to the Legislature except
Dr. Ira E. Smith became Senator, Gilbert D. Greer, took bis place as
Representative. Hugh A. Haralson, elected Major General, made Colonel
E. M. Story his Division Inspector. Rev. Elias Storey was pastor at
Mount Gilead Church and the Newnan Baptists re-elected Reverend James
Davis for the coming year.
Live Newton, new Tax
Collector, is the only official reported elected in January; Keller and
Watkins failed in business; William U. Anderson moved his stock of
goods to Marietta, but moved himself only from the place, now occupied
by the post office, to Davis Owen's, out north of the Methodist Church
which he improved; and buying out C. T. Wellborn's carriage shop, took
up blacksmithing again. John D. Brown and Daniel Whitaker went into the
grocery and liquor business. Hugh Houston was killed by lightning on
Sandy creek. Watkins & Houston closed out their business at Willow
Grove. Reverend Robert Fleming took charge of the Female Academy, John
A. Fleming taking Hugh Buchanan's place there. Grace & Long, a new
firm, opened a store; Norman, a seedsman, came. Charles Emben and John
Hull closed up their shop as did Joseph and Elisha Brown who left
town. Reverend Harris Stearnes was pastor at Mount Gilead.
Elected: Noel B. Knight,
of Covington, Solicitor for the Coweta circuit; Dr. I. E. Smith,
re-elected Senator; Dr. A. B. Calhoun, Gilbert D. Greer, and John
Jester, Representatives; John Thurman, Revolutionary soldier, died at
"A drouth lasting from
July 7th to November 26th made the streams so low that a man living
near Hutchinson's ferry sowed a turnip patch in the bed of the river
and raised a fine crop before the river was in flood again. The
fall was so mild that the cotton bloomed until Christmas.
No grinding could be done except at the river mills and they were so
crowded that it took a week to get to mill and back with one's turn
ground. Anderson & Martin built a horse mill in Newnan—starting it
off with two cranks by hand, gearing it later for horse-power; it was
kept running day and night for some time until the rains came about
Christmas. There was no steam-power in those days; hand
work did everything; wagons, carts, plows, axes, farming tools. Our
smoke-houses and corn-cribs were at home; if a neighbor had to buy corn
or meat, he did not go to Tennessee or Ohio for it, he went to a
neighbor and got his supplies. We had our washing done in
our own yards. Contrast that with the present (written 'in
1880). All our workshops are run by steam—and most of them
are in the North and West. I need not say which was the best plan—I
would be dubbed an old fogy, but I think the next generation will get
about right and have shops, smoke-houses and cribs at home again."1
The Baptist church had
been trying to get a triangle with which to call the congregation
together, but in August there is this record: "Rec'd the Bell in Lieu
of the triangle .... and let out the Ringing of the Same to the lowest
Bidder when Brother Reynolds took charge of the Same for Eleven Dollars
for the term of twelve months which is to be Rung ten minutes at each
time previous to the commencement of preaching." About this time they
record the exclusion from membership of a brother who absented himself
from the meetings without rendering any excuse.
Source: Jones, Mary G..
Coweta County chronicles for one hundred years : with an account of the
Indians from whom the land was acquired, and some historical papers
relating to its acquisition by Georgia, with lineage pages. Atlanta,
Ga.: Stein Print. Co., 1928.